IN, UPDATE State issues orders for Seelyville water works : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

IN, UPDATE State issues orders for Seelyville water works

by Suzanne Risley

In an effort to solve a six-month-old problem of discolored and smelly water, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management on Friday issued a compliance agreement to Seelyville detailing a specific course of action for the town.

Included in the agreement are flushing plans, a water plant examination, a monitoring system and better customer notification.

If Seelyville does not comply with the agreement conditions, the town will be subject to enforcement actions with penalties, said Pat Carroll of IDEM's drinking water division. The problem has been ongoing for six months, which is too long, he said.

Originally, town and IDEM officials thought the rusty-colored water was the result of Seelyville switching from Indiana-American water to its own water plant in January. Seelyville reversed the flow of water through the pipes, supposedly causing the muddy, discolored and odorous water.

Now, officials are not sure what is causing the problem, Carroll said. If it was simply flow reversal, it should have cleared up by now, he said.

One of the conditions of the agreement is that Seelyville Waterworks determine whether the water plant is working properly, he said. For instance, is the iron filter working correctly, he said. If it isn't, then the town will have to fix it.

Also, the town will be required to flush the system properly. Carroll said it must begin at pressure sources, be isolated whenever possible and follow industry standards. It should also be flushed in sections and not all at once, he said.

Seelyville Waterworks superintendent Jim McKinzie said flushing has been ongoing for several months with the help of IDEM, which got involved in mid-February.

Currently, he said the water department flushes the system every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. The department is trying to do it in off-peak times so people can get showers and do the laundry, he said.

The department will also step up customer notification of flushing times at the request of IDEM, McKinzie said. People say they weren't notified even though it has been in the newspaper, on television and on the radio, he said.

Properly notifying customers is one of the conditions of the agreement, Carroll said. Seelyville also has to establish a citizen's advisory panel to meet weekly for at least a month to develop a customer information plan, he said.

The system must also be tested and monitored on a regular basis for pressure and mineral content, he said. If any problems are found, they must be corrected, he added.

While the Seelyville Waterworks fulfills the conditions of the compliance agreement, Minneapolis, Minn.-based PUR Water Purification Products, a Proctor & Gamble company, will be giving away water filters to Seelyville customers.

Company spokesman Robert Prevost said the product will help filter out the sediment and purify the water more.

The company is shipping 1,200 water filters to Seelyville on Wednesday, he said. Representatives will give the filters away from 3 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Victory Christian Church, 9400 U.S. Highway 40. Residents will be required to bring a copy of their water bill to receive a free filter.

-- Doris (, June 24, 2000

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